The De La Warr Pavilion is among 66 cultural organisations across the country to benefit from a share of over £22.7 million from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme. This programme aims to help cultural organisations across the country transform their buildings and equipment so they can operate safely post-pandemic, improve access, seize technological opportunities, and reduce environmental impact.

This  £400,000 award will enable the De La Warr Pavilion to deliver a significant upgrade to our auditorium Technical Theatre Systems, thereby extending our reach, reducing our carbon footprint and improving our business model resilience post-pandemic. The upgrade will include a new assisted listening system, PA system, LED lighting and console, and stage external rigging.

Although this is a standalone project, it is the start of a wider capital masterplan to transform Creativity, Community and Skills in our region.

For DLWP, the auditorium is key to a sustainable future, attracting the highest calibre of artists as diverse as The Pixies, Orchestra Baobab, Ministry Of Sound, Dionne Warwick, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Goldfrapp. This international programme of live music welcomes an audience of over 70,000 people per annum, with 10% staying overnight, and 35% eating and drinking within the town. 95% rate their experiences good, very good and excellent and 75% said that our live programme encouraged participation in community life.

The upgrade to our Technical Theatre Systems will:

  • Significantly reduce our carbon footprint by using more energy efficient technology e.g. up to 50% on our lighting equipment alone and significant reduction on our sound and AVE systems.
  • Improve the accessibility of our auditorium e.g. the old hearing loop will be replaced by a new assisted listening system.
  • Help us meet our ambitions to assist young people in the local area, offering skills training to those looking for a career in theatre/event tech and management including the introduction of new T-levels with the local colleges and wider learning and music opportunities.
  • Reduce expenditure on hiring equipment and staffing

Stewart Drew, Director and CEO of the De La Warr Pavilion said:
“We are thrilled to receive this significant award from Arts Council England to upgrade our Theatre systems, some of which have not been addressed for over 50 years.  The increasing popularity of our live programme, and the regular use of the auditorium by local people, both in the audience and on stage means that this upgrade is essential for the viability of the organisation to attract international artists and remain at the heart of its community. Thank you Arts Council England!”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said:
“World class creativity and culture needs a resilient and sustainable infrastructure to allow it to flourish. With these investments in the buildings, equipment, and digital systems of cultural organisations across England, we are helping to secure the future of that infrastructure, and making sure that people from every part of the country can continue enjoying all the benefits it delivers for years to come.”


The full data on successful applicants to the Capital Investment Programme to date can be found on the Arts Council website live from 8am on Tuesday 10 May.

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at

The De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP) is a centre for arts, culture, and creativity in an iconic modernist building by the sea, designed by refugee Erich Mendelsohn and émigré Serge Chermayeff. It opened in 1935 as the ‘people’s palace for art and culture’ and now produces an innovative and integrated cultural programme of exhibitions and creative engagement programmes . Our upcoming live programme includes Orchestra Baobab, Warpaint and The Unthanks.

The Pavilion takes the lead in the development of cultural tourism and skills in the region through Sussex Modern and the Coastal Culture trail and plays a central role in the cultural and economic growth in Sussex.


Posted by sally on Tuesday 10 May 2022